Report: NFL Considering 15-Yard Penalty for Kneeling During the National Anthem

Anthem Protest
AP Photo/Matt Dunham

NFL owners proposed the idea of penalizing teams for kneeling during the national anthem, while at an offseason meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday.

According to Sports Illustrated, a suggestion was made to have the home team decide whether both squads would come out for the national anthem, or remain inside their locker rooms. Should the home team decide to come out, officials would assess a 15-yard penalty to any team whose players chose to protest during the anthem.

The idea was not well-received by sports journalists or fans:

The NFL is now going into its third season of dealing with the anthem protest issue. The protests began in the preseason of 2016, when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat, then knelt, during the playing of the national anthem.

Since then, hundreds of players across the league have either sat, knelt, or raised a fist during the anthem. The protests reached their peak in Week 3 of last year, after President Trump blasted NFL protesters at a political rally in Alabama. Calling the players “SOB’s,” and saying he wished their team owners would fire them. That weekend, hundreds of players, coaches, and executives protested.

However, the number of protesters dwindled in subsequent weeks to the point where there were only a dozen or so protesting in Week 17.

As The Hill notes, “Two players who were among the first to take a knee during the 2016 season — Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid — are now free agents. They have filed separate lawsuits against the NFL claiming owners colluded to keep them off of a team because of their history of protests.”

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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